First settled as a missionary post around 730 AD, Dunkeld was where Celtic monks set about converting the Pictish tribes to Christianity. By the middle of the ninth century, the town was Scotland's capital and the base of Kenneth MacAlpin, widely recognized as the first King of the Picts.
Over the following centuries, a massive gray sandstone church was built in Norman and Gothic styles to house the bishopric of Dunkeld, one of the most powerful in Scotland. Its tower once stood 96 feet (30 meters) high, but this, along with the rest of the cathedral, was destroyed in the Protestant Reformation of 1560.
Today the photogenic ruins sit in manicured grounds above the banks of the River Tay; the choir at the eastern end of the cathedral was restored in the early 20th century and is once again used for services. A ninth-century carved Apostles' Stone depicting Christ's disciples stands in the chapter house; this was rescued from use as a gatepost following the destruction of the cathedral.
Located on Cathedral Street, the cathedral is open from April through September from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and in October through March from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, and the site is best accessed by road. It is located about 12 miles (19 km) north of Perth on the A9; otherwise, take the train to Dunkeld-Birnam Station.